Employers nationwide are implementing ways to improve their employee's health inside and outside of the cubicle. The goal of becoming a healthier person, makes a more productive employee. Outside of corporate wellness programs and stand-up desks, some employers are taking a new approach to workplace well-being.
Some companies around the U.S. have implemented policies that encourage employees to bring their pets to work. While some may think of it as distracting, studies actually show that the employee's health, stress level, productivity/creativity, and socialization among co-workers can greatly improve with a little love from their pets throughout the day.
Petco.com reported that a 2015 survey found that only 8 percent of companies in the U.S. allow employees to bring their pets to work. In an article by Fortune.com, 12 of the best companies for pet lovers were featured, some of the companies include; Google (Alphabet), Salesforce, GoDaddy and Mars.
Not all of these companies allow employees to bring their pets to work, but they offer other benefits such as; pet insurance, doggy day care, discounts on dog walkers and other creative ideas.
Employee Health Improvements
Offices have been decorated with fish tanks for years, turns out they are not just for looks. Studies have actually shown that by regularly viewing a fish tank, blood pressure and heart rate can be reduced. Taking it a few steps further, it has been proven that by simply petting an animal blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate can be lowered.
Many people that have to leave their pets at home all day while they are at work worry about their animal being uncomfortable and they will likely rush home after work to take them out. As many people love their animals as part of the family, situations like this can cause extra stress to the workday.
Petco.com reported that when employees/people in general have interactions with an animal, their levels of Cortisol, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine and Serotonin change in a positive way. Interaction with dogs was specifically noted as being the most effective.
Socializing and Creativity
If you bring your dog to work, not only do you need to take bathroom breaks, so does your cuddly companion. When your dog has to go so do you, by getting up and walking outside employee moral, creativity and productivity are increased. Not to mention, taking your dog for a walk will add a little physical activity to your usual routine of sitting at a desk.
Social interactions and relationships have been proven to have a strong and positive affect on a person mentally and physically. As a result of multiple studies and workplace experiments, having animals present encourages more frequent social interactions.
Experiments also showed that employees are more bonded and work together more effectively when dogs are around their working environment.
"Our dog-friendly office policy -- which is supported in all offices where building codes allow animals -- has been in place since Etsy's founding more than 11 years years ago and it's one of the ways we strive to maintain a creative and inspiring work environment where people feel happy, productive and like themselves (we want people to feel comfortable at work, not like they need a separate, corporate persona). At Etsy, we prioritize employees' overall well-being, because we believe the best work comes from happy, healthy people."-, said an Etsy Spokesperson.